North Carolina is loaded with talented defensive backs this year and S Antonio Wardlow of Parkland High School in Winston-Salem can certainly make a case to be recognized as one of the best.
At 6-1, 185 pounds and boasting 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Wardlow is a solid hitter that thrives on making the big play. Last year he came up with many as he finished off his junior season with 53 tackles, six interceptions, 13 pass-breakups and six tackles-for-loss en route to earning all-conference and all-region honors.
Recently Pack Pride rated Wardlow as the No. 1 S and the No. 15 prospect overall in NC while TheInsiders.com has assigned him a three-star rating.
That rating would appear to be justified as Wardlow has collected scholarship offers from the likes of Tennessee, UNC, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Clemson, Maryland and Virginia.
One school missing from the list is NC State but that hasn't prevented the speedy DB from naming the Pack as one his top four schools. Wardlow had the opportunity to camp at State earlier this summer and came away impressed with what he saw.
"Actually I've been up there more than just for camp but I like the facilities they've got up there and I really like their coaches," said Wardlow.
"Basically, I just enjoyed myself while I was up there. Coach Cignetti is the guy recruiting me and I like him and Coach Amato. They both seem like they're real down to earth."
Wardlow is also extremely interested in three other programs and he discussed what he liked about each.
Virginia Tech- "They have a lot of players at my position that are leaving so I could play there early."
Tennessee- "I like their facilities and coaches just like NC State."
South Carolina- "I haven't really had a chance to see them but I plan to take my official visit there."
Wardlow added that he considers himself open to the four primary teams on his list.
"I'm still wide open but those four are the main one I'm interested in," said Wardlow. "I plan on going to a lot of the games for my top four teams."
One factor that appears to be a major consideration for Wardlow will be the opportunity for early playing time. As for position, most schools like him as a safety but the senior defensive back prefers to the freedom to roam in the secondary.
"I prefer FS because I like the freedom of being able to roam around," said Wardlow. "I just feel like I'm a playmaker and I love to hit."
Wardlow plans to take several of his official visits before deciding on a school and hopes to major in Computer Engineering.